STAKEHOLDERS CONCLUDE FORUM ON BANNING OF FGM

By Aja Musu Bah Daffeh

The Young People of the Media (YPM) held a two day stakeholders forum on banning of FGM at NaNA Conference Hall whcih concluded on the 31st of December, 2016. The objective of the forum was to sensitise on the eradication of the harmful practice of FGM with the theme “Accelerating our collective effective efforts in Ending FGM in our Generation”.

Fatou E. Muloshi, the vice president of YPM, who also doubles as the chairperson of the program, said the forum is part of the activities under the YPM TGG grant agreement which is a grant geared towards ending FGM and GBV.

She noted that YPM, over the years, as a child led organization, has been embarking on series of activities to effect positive change in the lives of children noting that this been done through effective child participation on issues affecting their wellbeing while using the media to disseminate information and advocate for children’s rights and protection issues.

Muloshi asserted that the forum is to help activists in their fight against the harmful practices in order to become better equipped with information and understanding of the laws relating to FGM.

Mr. Abdou Jatta, the Executive Coordinator YPM, said the forum has come at a right time, one year down the line after the presidential pronouncement on the banning of FGM and amendments of anti FGM laws on the Women’s Act 2005. “Due to the cultural sensitivity surrounding FGM, discussing it in homes and communities used to be a taboo, today the issue has become a household word in the Gambia. This is a big achievement which is as a result of rigorous advocacy, social mobilization, sensitization etc. As advocates we should not be complacent in our efforts to end FGM just because it has been banned, instead we need to redouble effort and use the best practices and lessons learnt from our previous interventions to introduce more innovative approaches which will speed up the total abandonment of FGM in the Gambia,” Mr. Jatta noted.

He continued that FGM has a barrier to girl’s education, as young girls drop out from school to get married which impacts negatively on the community as whole and on the well-being of future generations noting that YPM and its strategic partners such as UNICEF, TGG, MoBSE, FAWEGAM, DSW,CPA, NWGBV seeks to promote the implementation of these children’s Act 2005 and the Trafficking in persons Act 2007.

The Program Officer for the Girl Generation, Musu Bakoto Sawo Ceesay, said the girl generation is a global body that supports efforts to end FGM in The Gambia and to ensure positive change that can sensitise parents on the side effects of FGM to enable them to cease the mutilate of their children.

Madam Sawo Ceesay said they have a youth led movement in the Gambia which is currently operating in Nigeria as well as Korea in order to amplify their voices so that the harmful practice can come to an end by taking the do no harm guideline. She continued that the campaign of ending FGM in the Gambia has been going for over three decades now and the youths have a very key role to play as the older generation had already their part.

Mr. Filly Nyassi the Senior Program Officer, Department of Social Welfare representing the Director for Social Welfare Fanta Bai Secka asserted the same sentiments in the ban of FGM in The Gambia. Participants later participated effectively in order to make the forum lively and also group presentation where done on the effects of FGM with its solutions.